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United Airlines: Stop Cyber Bullies: Sue Shannon Watts for Libel.

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At 06:36 a.m. on Sunday, March 26th 2017, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Marmion Watts (@shannonrwatts) unleashed a tirade on Twitter against United Airlines (@united), after observing a United Airlines gate agent enforce the company's dress code policy which applies to passengers traveling on discounted or no fares as part of an employee benefit program.

Mrs. Watts jumped on the opportunity to maliciously attack the airline with intent to harm their revenues and reputation, by publicly spreading false, negative and damaging information about the airline to her over 34 thousand followers on Twitter. Amongst her outrageous claims, Mrs. Watts accuses the airline of

  • Policing women's clothing
  • Disadvantaging women and girls
  • Being sexist
  • Sexualizing teenage girls
  • Being mysogenist
  • Unduely burdening female customers
  • Scrutinizing female bodies
  • Having an outrageous lack of respect for customers
  • Being nonsensical

Mrs. Watts has made over 117 "tweets" to her 34k+ followers inciting continued negative and damaging publicity against United Airlines. After initially implying that it was regular, paying customers who were being challenged for their attire, Mrs. Watts was eventually informed by United Airlines that it was in fact "Pass Riders", people traveling for low or no cost under an employee benefit program. Airline employees and their guests are expected to represent the airline in a positive and professional manner as a condition of utilizing this benefit, and therefore must adhere to a dress code. In spite of being made aware of this fact, Mrs. Watts continued, and still yet continues, to wage a negative publicity campaign against the airline. She has even decided to promote responses from competing airlines to the controversy she's created, demonstrating her clear intent to harm the revenue and reputation of United Airlines.

Taking her negative publicity campaign against the airline beyond Twitter, Mrs. Watts has been leveraging her online presence to attack the airline's reputation by publishing articles, such as:

Leggings or Lives: What Drives the News Cycle?

I’m the Woman Who Called Out United and I’m Sick of Sexism

In these articles, Mrs. Watts acknowledges that the affected individuals were in violation of the employee benefits contract, yet continues to assert her baseless and damaging claims against the airline. In the United States, there is a legal term for when someone publishes a falsehood about another which causes damage to them or their reputation. It's called "Libel", a civil tort, and the laws against it are in place to prevent individuals and businesses from being harmed by others through the spreading of untrue information.

Like most individuals and small business owners, I do not have the clout or capacity that a major airline has to combat malicious and libelous individuals who would seek to harm me, my reputation or my revenues.

I am looking to United Airlines to show leadership on behalf of individuals and business owners across America. United Airlines' initial response was factual, civil and professional. However, in spite of being presented with the facts, Mrs. Watts has doubled down her effort to callously wage a relentless negative publicity campaign against United. United Airlines must assert the rights of all businesses to:

  • Establish and enforce workplace policies which foster professionalism, safety and respect
  • Be free from suffering damaging losses caused from false, libelous claims made by malicious individuals
  • Demonstrate that there are consequences for people who use their public clout to spread false information and maliciously damage businesses


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